We had christenings at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Always a joyous occasion when infants are marked as Christ’s own forever. After the babies are baptized, a priest carries them up and down the aisle of our historic sanctuary so parishioners can greet our newest members. We will watch them grow into toddlers and then school children and then teenagers. Each child will have hundreds of honorary aunts and uncles. That, my friends, is what it means to have a church family.
We had another baptism of sorts. A tired old tradition was replaced with a vibrant new one. The Men of St. Paul’s held their first quarterly brunch replacing the traditional, but sparsely attended, early morning breakfasts. It was spectacle and I mean that in the best possible way. There was smoked salmon and breakfast casseroles and a pastry station and homemade Belgian waffles and chocolate-covered strawberries. Probably close to 100 people, many of whom attend different services and didn’t know each other, came together to celebrate as a family.
The life of the church. All of us from different backgrounds, differing political views, different ages. We laugh with each other, we have each other’s shoulders when a good cry is called for. We show up to send the dear departed on to the pearly gates. And we all show up to welcome new ones to the flock. We nourish each other with spiritual food and breakfast casseroles.
The mystery of faith. It binds us. It nourishes us. It makes us a family of a most unique sort.